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Flyers and Pitkanen finally agree

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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia announced the signing of Finnish defenseman Joni Pitkanen to a three-year entry level contract on Tuesday . The 6-foot-3, 202-pounder was selected by the in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Philadelphia sent forward and two second-round picks (34th and 52nd overall) in that draft to the Tampa Bay for the pick they used to select Pitkanen. "Joni is probably rated as the best young defenseman outside the NHL," said general manager Bob Clarke. "We think that he has a chance to be a terrific player for us. We are hopeful that he can make the (this season). He has been playing against older players in Finland for the last three years, so he shouldn't be physically intimidated." The 19-year-old Pitkanen was ranked first among European prospects on Central Scoutingâ¿¿s final report entering the 2002 draft. He scored five goals and added 15 assists with 38 penalty minutes in 35 games for Karpat Oulu (Finland) this past season.

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